The largest and most powerful space telescope has successfully deployed its golden mirrors and the testing of the individual mirror segments is now complete.
Our mirror segment deployments are complete! 🎉
Using motors, each segment was moved out about half the length of a paper clip to clear the mirrors from their launch restraints and give each segment enough space for mirror alignment. https://t.co/XWbVLQuch1 #UnfoldTheUniverse pic.twitter.com/d121DHldiX
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) January 19, 2022
Erin Wolf, Webb program manager at Ball Aerospace, explained how the mirrors were moved and tested. “The motors made over a million revolutions this week…The mirror deployment team incrementally moved all 132 actuators located on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror…Using six motors that deploy each segment approximately half the length of a paper clip, these actuators clear the mirrors from their launch restraints and give each segment enough space to later be adjusted in other directions,” Wolf said.
He added that the process of telescope alignment will take approximately three months.
On January 24, the team is expected to fire Webb’s thrusters to insert the telescope into its orbit around the Sun. The telescope will be nearly 1 million miles from Earth.
We’re gearing up to insert #NASAWebb into its orbit!
What to expect on Jan. 24:
⏰ 3pm ET (20:00 UTC) NASA Science Live: Ask questions with #UnfoldTheUniverse 🌟
⏰ 4pm ET (21:00 UTC) Media teleconference with @NASAGoddard & @northropgrumman expertshttps://t.co/6MhQ60Mxzz pic.twitter.com/ReB8umJQLB
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) January 20, 2022
Webb’s scientists and engineers will also answer questions about the latest milestones at 3 pm EST on Monday (1.30 am IST Tuesday). It will be broadcasted live on the NASA Science Live website, NASA’s YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter pages.